Racism down to fans being 'more stupid', says Toure

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 9, 2018 Manchester City's Yaya Toure during a ceremony after the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

(Reuters) - Former Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure says he has discussed the growing problem of racism in soccer with the sport’s world governing body FIFA and blamed the issue on fans being “more stupid than before”.

A series of racist incidents have tainted European soccer recently with Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and Brescia’s Mario Balotelli subjected to racist insults from rival fans during Serie A matches in Italy this season.

Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport used the headline ‘Black Friday’ along with pictures of Lukaku and AS Roma’s Chris Smalling to preview a game, while Serie A chief Luigi De Siervo apologised for artwork featuring apes in its anti-racism campaign.

“Fans, people, now are more stupid than before. Of course it’s shocking because we’re in 2019,” Toure told reporters in Doha, where he is attending the Club World Cup.

“I’ve had a chat with FIFA because this is very important.

“It will be difficult because the way to win this case is going to be long.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford